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Perfectionism and Mental wellbeing

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

How desire for perfection cause you anxiety ?

Since time immemorial, ´being perfect´ is attributed as a very good quality associated with high achievement and success, however , there is another side to this personality trait that can give consequences to the mental health.

Perfectionism brings along a lot of mental activity with itself. There is lot of background effort which cause perfection.

Therefore individuals who are having this intrinsic need to have perfection in everything they do often find themselves suffering with overwhelming moments. First of all, such people may often set unrealistic expectations for themselves and others, leading to constant disappointment and feelings of failure. This can result in anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. Secondly, perfection also involves a lot of overthinking, planning, comparison, critical analysis that creates a complex system of thoughts and emotions thereby hardwiring the brain

On one hand, it can motivate individuals to strive for excellence and achieve great success. On the other hand, it can lead to anxiety and a constant fear of failure.

When perfectionism becomes excessive, it can be detrimental to one's mental health. In fact, studies have shown that perfectionism is strongly linked to anxiety disorders. This is because perfectionists often set unrealistically high standards for themselves, and when they inevitably fall short, they experience intense feelings of disappointment, self-doubt, and anxiety.

Furthermore, such perfectionist tendencies can as well lead to a lack of self-compassion and difficulty accepting mistakes or failures.

With such complexities when one starts to deal with routine life on a day to day basis, it becomes even more complex for such an individual and also for the people around. It's important to recognize the difference between healthy striving for excellence and unhealthy perfectionism. Healthy striving involves setting goals and working towards them, while recognizing that mistakes and setbacks are a natural part of the learning process. Unhealthy perfectionism, on the other hand, involves an unrelenting pursuit of flawlessness, which can be exhausting and ultimately unattainable.

Moreover the definition of perfection also differs from person to person, it changes from time to time, and it might as well change when we are in different moods , situations , hence we should not over- pressurise ourself with this trait and be very conscious that we do not fall prey to this trap which might make us sacrifice many things including our health and loved ones

Geeta ji is a perfect example of how to strive for excellence even in a war situation and still not getting anxious or carried away by the outcomes. Bhagwan Krishna says how one should excel in the actions (yogaha karmasu kaushalam) and do not get intrigued by the outcomes. Always keep in mind O Arjuna, This too shall pass and keep your eye on the efforts. Fight not with the intent of winning of losing, Fight because that will help you excel in your life.

In our case fight is not the swadharma (duty) like it was for Arjuna. For us we must excel in our duties by focusing on the efforts and enjoying the process and not get perturbed by the the results

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